3470.mon – “I started Visual Kei because I thought Visual Kei was the opposite”

Before we get to the actual contents of this post, we have to do a little bit of an introduction first. Since we’ll be doing something a little different than usual… The following interview was not conducted by us here at Arlequin Magazine, but by オザキケイト (Ozaki Keito) in late August of 2021.

オザキケイト (Ozaki Keito) is a writer based in Tokyo, Japan. He has written quite a few articles about musicians and their shows as well as a fair number of interviews on top of that.

With his permission we’re sharing both his original interview on the Japanese version of Arlequin Magazine, as well as our English translation of his work with you here today. As you can probably tell already, the artist featured in this interview is 3470.mon, consisting of vocalist 平一洋 (Taira Kazuhiro), keyboardist SYUTO and bassist RENA. The style is of course a little different than you’re used to from us, but we’ve tried to keep the original version in mind as we made this translation.
Enjoy reading the interview, and thank you for taking the time to read the introduction this time too! – Arlequin

 
 

On to the interview!

3470.mon (pronounced as “Sayonara Monday”), a project led by 平一洋 (Taira Kazuhiro). The reason for this interview being the 0th EP “VHS” reaching the first place in the iTunes Store Daily Rock Ranking. “I started Visual Kei because I thought Visual Kei was the opposite”.

 
3470.mon (Sayonara Monday) has a unique presence in the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) scene with vocalist 平一洋 (Taira Kazuhiro). Together with his allies SYUTO (Keyboards/LAID BACK OCEAN) and RENA (Bass/CRAZY PUNK KID) the group has started a project called “The 0th EP, “VHS””, a project that had a lot of mysterious parts to it. It was released digitally only a few days ago, but spread around social media in the blink of an eye and won the first place in the iTunes Store Daily Rock Ranking. It really shows a high level of attention too. The music feels like R&B with Soul as the backbone, something one cannot imagine coming from 平一洋 (Taira Kazuhiro), and the chemical change that consists of SYUTO and RENA creates a bottomless individuality that solidifies this side of 平 (Taira), which stands out even in ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei). What is the ideal music that 平 (Taira) aims to create? We talked to 3470.mon, who still have many mysteries, while they were practicing in the studio.

–First of all, how did 3470.mon start?
平 (Taira): I had originally been talking to SYUTO to do something for quite some time, but the guitar and bass have changed up to this point, which made what we started with feel like it’s getting bigger and bigger.

–Is that so. At first you were active with 漫才 (Manzai, a two-person comedy act) and music under the name “凄い人達(仮) (Sugoi Hitotachi (Kari)”, but how did you come up with that plan?
平 (Taira): 漫才 (Manzai) wants to do 漫才 (Manzai) with the momentum of being drunk by an entertainer he met before becoming a corona sword! I thought that if I added a song to a 漫才 (Manzai) at some point it would be possible to do something like a show, so I combined the music and the 漫才 (Manzai) -two completely different genres- into one. I wanted to see what it was like.

–So you were planning something completely different than what you have now.
平 (Taira): That’s right. I had an idea that I wanted to do a variety show, but I thought that 漫才 (Manzai) was not suitable for it. (laughs)

–I think it’s true that you really have the ability to try what you want to do. But let’s return to music, since the first thing to focus on with 3470.mon is its music, which is based on R&B and Soul. Did you decide on this musical direction from the conceptual stage?
平 (Taira): No, I like all the music that SYUTOMAN makes, and every time he asked “how about this?” it was okay. So I feel this direction happened naturally.
SYUTO: I think I simply like R&B and Soul music.

–SYUTO himself said: “Make something that only that person can sing.”
SYUTO: It’s easy to think that 3470.mon’s songs aren’t fierce, but I am going to put some fierceness inside. I think that the intensity that suits TenTen-san (平一洋 (Taira Kazuhiro)) is more Punk than loud, and while incorporating the Punk rhythm into the taste of R&B and Soul music his voice quality and live style are like him. I feel like I’m trying to find a point that matches the good and make it so that the good points of both will come out.

–I think that the combination of TenTen-san and SYUTO can’t avoid the influence of Re:MY BACTERIA HEAT ISLAND (the band that they were both a part of for half a year, starting in March 2016), but the loud style from that time. I also remember being surprised because the sound image was quite different from that of the piano.
SYUTO: When I was in Re:MY BACTERIA HEAT ISLAND I used to make a song and put a piano on it, but this time I made it from the beginning so I think there is a big difference in it’s “taste”.

–Since RENA joined as a bassist at a later time, I think you knew about the musical style of this project in advance. But when you joined, what did you think about the balance with RENA’s own playing style?
RENA: To be honest, I’m good at Punk, but I’ve always liked music that uses a lot of rests like this. And recently it has a Lo-Fi and Hip-Hop taste, which is close to the music I listen to every day and in fact Punk. Besides, I like a lot of music. There are many songs that make a bassist shine, and I was originally in a loud band called “THE BLACK SWAN”, so the image changed suddenly and I thought that the music where the bass makes beats would be fun… It’s something that I don’t have, so I’m enjoying the feeling that my skills are expanding further.

–What was the idea behind inviting RENA to the project in the first place?
平 (Taira): Na-chan (RENA) has been a favorite as a bassist and a human being ever since he was playing with LACK-CO (the band that 平 (Taira) used to belong to), and I’ve always wanted to form a band. I already shared my interest when the bassist of LACK-CO left, but I couldn’t assemble a band for a long time because the timing wasn’t right. I came here, and when the predecessor bass came off I felt like it was time to call out to Sokko.
RENA: Why didn’t you talk to me from the very start! (laughs)
(everyone laughs)
RENA: I’m a fan of 平一洋 (Taira Kazuhiro) and I thought I’d like to play music with him, but I heard that the timing wasn’t right and I couldn’t speak to him because they just started a thing with another bassist. I also listened to the music, and I thought it was really good. However, I didn’t know if it would fit, even if I did it together with them. And by warming up to this point I felt like I was in trouble because I didn’t think I could do it well. They said it was, and I started to participate from 厳格さ (Genkaku-san), with the feeling that I would help.
SYUTO: RENA’s name was mentioned at the beginning, but at that time I was doing vocals and maybe I wanted to do bass now? I remember having a conversation like that.
平 (Taira): That’s right! However, we gathered in a natural way and the personalities of the three of us are all different. But I think that’s because it meshes with nature.

–I think it can be said for any band in TenTen-san’s history, but I think there was a wonderful guitarist who would definitely be the right hand. This time though, I thought I brought a ridiculous pianist with the same ugly thing.
平 (Taira): I loved it since I was in Re:MY BACTERIA HEAT ISLAND. After that he got separated and formed a band with a vocalist who I think is god.

–That is LAID BACK OCEAN.
平 (Taira): That’s right. It’s natural that the environment is different because I am teaming up with the god in me, but I thought that I couldn’t get through even after watching the live performance. (laughs)
Even though I said “I’m embarrassed” I was finished as a man who broke while playing the piano, so I decided leave it to SYUTOMAN the next time I did something.
Originally this was a story I got from a member who no longer exists, but I don’t like it without SYUTOMAN.

–You are loved so much.
SYUTO: On the contrary… I didn’t want to play in a band with TenTen-san…
平 (Taira): WHAT?!

–The bomb remark… (laughs)
平 (Taira): You stab it really softly… (laughs)
SYUTO: It was the same when Re:MY BACTERIA HEAT ISLAND stopped activities, but when the band stopped we became estranged. It’s been amazing that we’ve become friends again over time, but I don’t want to form a band again only to break up and become estranged from each other again.

–As a result, it is mutual love.
平 (Taira): Originally it wasn’t like making a band, but trying to do a duo-unit.
Like Na-chan, let’s do a band! It’s not like that, but it’s a waste to not put it out into the world because the naturally produced product is so good.

–I would like to move on to the story about the 0th EP “VHS”. At that time the name was still 凄い人達(仮) (Sugoi Hitotachi (Kari), but the song “純潔さん (Jyunketsu-san)” is characterized by R&B elements and a catchy chorus.
SYUTO: This song has an R&B like chorus, and the beat changes to Punk, but originally there was no Punk element, a different chorus. Because like I said earlier, this Punk chorus was the result of searching for a matching point while thinking about the singing ability of TenTen-san.
平 (Taira): When I made this song I didn’t want to leave it for the rest of my life. I remember thinking that it would appeal to various people, and that it would be a turning point. And that it would last a lifetime.

–RENA hasn’t participated at this time.
RENA: 一洋 (Kazuhiro) consulted me as a friend at that time. He asked me to listen to “純潔さん (Jyunketsu-san)” and “スピード違反さん (Supiido ihan-san)”. When I played “純潔さん (Jyunketsu-san)” I thought it was a really good song! 平 (Taira)’s and SYUTO’s songs are all intertwined. Additionally, I thought it would be a simple song, but when I picked up the sound to copy it, it was messed up and ended in a metamorphosis. (laughs) 平一洋 (Taira Kazuhiro) thought I had picked up on something ridiculous.
SYUTO: As RENA said, this song is one that you can never do if you do it sloppily. So I was always worried if the musical instrument corps could play it, including myself. While it was technical, I had to put out emo. RENA came in and everyone -including じょん (John) and Hyu-ga- supported me and expressed the seriousness of the music. I think it’s a song that can be done.

–I think the lyrics of the song “午前3時星降る夜 (Gozen 3-ji hoshifuruyoru)” really bother you. (There is a song with the same name in the band KuRt, which 平 (Taira) used to belong to.) Was this intentionally incorporated?
平 (Taira): I put it in intentionally. Because, when I sang my lyrics 10 years ago during a session band I was embarrassed and stopped singing. However, I realized that I had forgotten my feelings and that I had separated them. I remember the words and moments I wanted to cherish, such as things I never wanted to forget. So I am thinking of actively putting them in.

–So that’s it.
平 (Taira): I feel that there are many people who can’t come even if they want to come in this situation. Or people who don’t follow as much as they used to, but we do care about them. I haven’t forgotten the feelings of those days.

–It’s wonderful. Also, this may be a coincidence, but for “純潔さん (Jyunketsu-san)” you sang “I want to be pure, even at 午前3時星降る夜 (Gozen 3-ji hoshifuruyoru)”.
平 (Taira): Ah! Is that so! I wasn’t particularly conscious of it, but I think that the beautiful things I didn’t want to lose were unconsciously connected.

–Then, I would like to ask you about the second song “スピード違反さん (Supiido ihan-san)”. This is a strange and mellow taste.
SYUTO: This song has a ballad tempo, but the theme is to make it a non-ballad song. The point is that the mainstream of the song is a ballad that can be heard as not-intense, but that’s why the chorus of this song was made with the image of a slow, but intense song.
What’s more interesting about this song is that it has a Lo-fi Hip-Hop taste, with the intention to make it easier to listen to. But when it’s live, the band’s sound are two arrangements so you can really enjoy スピード違反さん (Supiido ihan-san).
RENA: I haven’t participated in the recording of this song, so for me it’s an image of a live performance, a more emo and intense sound type of image. However, when I listened to “VHS” again it was a fact that it was such a mix. And when I heard the story from SYUTO now, I fell in love with it. So I think it’s a good song that can be enjoyed in these two ways, and at the same time I want to re-record it with my own bass as soon as possible. (laughs) It still feels like someone else’s song.
平 (Taira): There is a story through this “VHS”, but I think that this work is lined up in the order of which the songs were made. And as you listen to them in order you’ll become more and more particular about it. “純潔さん (Jyunketsu-san)” is a band because he wants to respect the ideas of each member.
I think it will change depending on the individual mixture, but I think that “スピード違反さん (Supiido ihan-san)” is the first song that has been cut off in a good way and makes everyone look in the same direction.

–The title “スピード違反さん (Supiido ihan-san)” is impressive, isn’t it?
平 (Taira): I’m singing about people I can’t meet anymore, but the speed at which people’s lives differ depends on the person. And the more different the speed is, the further away people will be. Of course, the speed will change depending on the time, so I may meet again, but if I am completely gone, I won’t be able to meet again. So I can’t catch up, even if I stop. So I want to catch up, even if that means I violate the speed limit from now on.

–TenTen-san’s way of describing “speed violation” is quite the image.
SYUTO: (nods intensely)

–Then, I would like to talk about “幻覚さん (Genkaku-san)”, whose facial expressions change dramatically.
平 (Taira): When I made a presentation about this song I wanted to do this kind of music. SYUTOMAN made a song that was conscious of that.

–Can you tell us what type of “order” you placed specifically?
平 (Taira): I think he was looking for something common with old anime songs, game music and whatever he liked. Normally I thought that nobody would embody such a fluffy order, and the one that came out was even better than what I imagined, so I was very excited.
SYUTO: Many old anime songs are ones that faithfully reproduce the anime “Yu☆Yu☆Hakusho”. The words are different, but I made the part of “Good morning world” while being conscious of the way of fitting and the rhythm of “A-ri-ga-to-u-go-zza-i-masu!”. I made this song in the hopes of it being played as an opening song when the new “Yu☆Yu☆Hakusho” anime will be released.

–This is the first time RENA is participating in a song, isn’t it?
RENA: That’s right. I was asked to participate in this MV because the bassist before me had left, but I wanted to play the song if I was going to participate in it. So I got the information from SYUTO and recorded the bass without their permission… I heard later that they were planning on going with a synth bass, and they didn’t plan on recording the raw bass. (laughs)
平 (Taira): Who asked you?! (laughs)
RENA: I thought it was a nuisance to play without permission, but I was confident that it would be cool to listen to the song and add a live-based nuance. I was able to add a beat feeling to the bass that I didn’t know before, and I think I was able to bring out the delicious nuances of the bass.

–And the fourth song is “夜更かしさん (Yofukashi-san)”. Although this song is mellow, I thought the composition of it was interesting.
SYUTO: This is an antithesis.

–It’s an antithesis?
SYUTO: I heard there are quite a few people who use the shuffle function when listening to music, and stop a song when they don’t like the first chorus. So, as a result of thinking about how such a person would listen in the end, I thought it would be good if there was only a chorus at the end of the song. So this song sometimes has the lyrics of “The melody on this chorus will be forgotten and consumed someday”.
平 (Taira): I’ll say this for the first time, but the first half of the lyrics for this song were written by SYUTOMAN. I think that the band is one with some distance between the members, but from this song onward the distance between us has disappeared and the barriers to express ourselves have disappeared as well. So it’s a song full of things I want to try, rather than an experiment.
SYUTO: In that respect, the hi-hat rhythm of the C-melody (generally called chorus) of this song is not even and leans to being unpleasant, but it’s a perfect balance that makes you feel comfortable listening to it. So that’s a personal thing.
平 (Taira): I first asked “is it sane?” when we were in the studio. (laughs)
I also love to have a long band, so I often end up doing this kind of experimental thing, but I’ll do it none the less. It’s the first time I’ve gotten better, and it feels great to be able to do it live.
RENA: I was officially requested to play the bass for this song as a support member, but I wanted to express a dull feeling with this mellow song. I like the sound without an attack, so I used the fretless bass. I’m particular about the low and nuances of the slides, and when I think I’m barely there I say “it’s slow, it’s slow!”.

–And last is the last song, 悪魔くん (Akuma-kun).
SYUTO: This was only supposed to be an intro at first. I asked TenTen-san to listen to it, and he said “Let’s get this next!”. (laughs) I was expecting such a reply.

–This song is as catchy as “純潔さん (Jyunketsu-san)”, isn’t it?
平 (Taira): That’s right! The standard for me is “純潔さん (Jyunketsu-san)”. Music seems to be of no value to the world, but I don’t think that’s the case. When I listened to this intro I felt it had a different taste from “純潔さん (Jyunketsu-san)”, but was valuable none the less. Each person has different values, but it’s like finding a stone in the river. The intro of this song looked so glittering to me that I thought I had to make it.

–Furthermore, I think that this song has more composition and development than the other songs.
SYUTO: I made it from the intro, so I felt like I continued to say it would be interesting if the next development was like this. There are very few of the same parts in one song because of that, and I think the result is that you will not get tired of listening to it.

–TenTen-san also has a rap part in this song.
平 (Taira): I never thought that a rap would come. (laughs)
SYUTO: The evaluation criteria for the songs in me are whether or not they match TenTen-san, and the fact that they match is because of what I expect from hi based on what he has done in the band so far. Things are also added, so this time it was a rap.
平 (Taira): It took 7 and a half hours to record. (laughs)
To be honest, I wasn’t convinced when I finished the recording, but when I listened to the final product I heard that I could see something I couldn’t see before. I was thinking about this band for a long time, and I was planning to do the band while watching various things, but it was also a recording that made me realize that there are many parts I still can’t see.

–So you’ve come across new possibilities?
平 (Taira): Up until now I’ve been in the band with the idea of “TenTen-san is like this”, but this time I felt like I could expand my capabilities rather than just doing what I was being told.
RENA: I was also told: “This time it’s a mess of a bass!” by SYUTO. I think it’s a challenge, including the slap-parts that I normally don’t do, but I’m recording with the intention to exceed that expectation, and like 一洋 (Kazuhiro) I’m making music together and expanding my own capabilities. That’s the feeling they’re giving me.

–Including this song, TenTen-san has said that the lyrics of these songs are not positive so far.
平 (Taira): I’m positive. It might be difficult to understand because I’m mainly a negative man, but it’s like the hope seen in Yun and Yang. As with the lyrics of 悪魔くん (Akuma-kun), I want the “negative” feelings to end. At the same time I think that in the future the world will suddenly change. So in a world full of this information I thought that if I didn’t live by believing my own sense while imagining the future properly, I would be swept away by a bad flow and die.

–That’s why I want to live positively in the future.
平 (Taira): I think it will be chaotic from now on, and the past will be darker than the future. Dirty things will be more noticeable than the clean things. That’s why I want you to have a sense of value that will make this mixture look beautiful. The story of “purity” that has been mentioned several times already today is also connected to this, but from now on I will renew the feeling of not forgetting this feeling as a new purity and live.

–By the way, how is the response to the digital release? I’ve been waiting for it myself, and I think everyone had the same feeling as it appeared as the #1 result in the iTunes ranking.
平 (Taira): Mom or sister…
RENA: Only family. (laughs)
平 (Taira): It may be with my local friends, but I’m really happy to hear from people I don’t usually get in touch with because I play music. The first place is amazing.
RENA: “VHS” has become a rock icon. I thought it was purely amazing.
SYUTO: Our genre is rock! Or so I thought. (laughs)
(everyone laughs)
SYUTO: There were some parts that I couldn’t promote so far, so I think I finally got the chance to get to know them.

–TenTen-san said it himself, I think: “The ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) scene isn’t dead yet. I hope I will be able to give it a chance to breathe”.
平 (Taira): I’m going to blow a bubble, I feel that there are many people who sell better than me or who have numbers, but give up. And the voices like “I should simplify this song” or “I should make it easier to understand” are mentioned above as well. The more I go, the more I get. I think I’m always doing the opposite, but I am a person who started doing ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) thinking ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) is the opposite.

–The mindset of doing something different than other people should be the basis of ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei).
平 (Taira): I feel like it’s like a big slice of salmon coming all the time with the conveyor belt sushi. Isn’t this music good? Even if I recommend it, it seems to be the same kind of music. I don’t think the scene is dead, but because I’m giving up I get the image that I’m dead. I think new things will sprout because I’m dying, and I believe it will change in the future. So I hope I can get a chance to breathe back again.
SYUTO: How would you compare 3470.mon to conveyor belt sushi?
平 (Taira): It feels like something other than sushi is coming even though it’s conveyor belt sushi! Something high class and new! (laughs)
(everyone laughs)
平 (Taira): Isn’t music fun? Hopes, dreams and other things that create a person’s life. I don’t think it will trigger a person’s life if you come with familiar words or a familiar look. Of course you can pick and combine stuff that is likely to sell, and I know that numbers will come out of that.
However, I only see it in front of me and I’m planning to sell it in this band. But even if it doesn’t sell, I think the correct answer is “I can listen to the music that person is creating all the time”. That’s it. That’s what I want to pursue.

–All of TenTen-san’s bands so far have been bands that you can listen to for a long time. That’s why it leads to the statement of “you can sprint in the opposite direction of the rest of the world”.
平 (Taira): I’m confused, but there are some scary parts. I can however run with confidence because the members support me. They believe in me as a vocalist, regardless of the genre. And the customers that listen to my work confirm this being the correct answer. That’s what I think it is.

–It’s not the opposite of the previous answer, but I personally hope that the music of 3470.mon will go beyond the image that was implanted into us through “VHS”.
平 (Taira): Even in the current situation, in which I don’t know what direction the world will move in from now on, I plan to go in the opposite direction every single time. And since I’m a member who has something that allows me to go in the opposite direction, I haven’t released this yet, but there are some heavy songs.
SYUTO: I’m making some insanely intense songs, thinking that if I only put out slow and catchy songs, I’ll be able to lick them. (laughs)

–I’m looking forward to seeing you betray your own expectations in a good way.
RENA: I can write songs myself, and there are demos that I’ve already given to the others. I think I’m good at songs in a different direction than SYUTO, so I hope that 3470.mon will be able to blow a fresh breeze through the genre.
平 (Taira): The lyrics are the same, but rather than focusing on one thing, I’m focusing on all directions. And I think I’m doing music that can reach places I can’t reach personally. So people with a good taste will follow me. If you haven’t found it yet, I want you to find it easily and spread it quickly.
RENA: Lastly, 平一洋 (Taira Kazuhiro) might be most concerned about the fans, he also supported the problem that the band didn’t continue. And after a few years he said “You’re still doing it, right?”. I hope it will be an activity that continues to support each other in various ways.
平 (Taira): Of course, there have been various reasons so far, but now that I can enjoy music without thinking too much about it, I believe that the probabilities are higher than before. I’m growing up as a person and I’m confident, so don’t worry! (laughs)

 

3470.mon
平一洋
(Taira Kazuhiro)
SYUTO

RENA

じょん
(John) (support)
Hyu-ga
(support)

 

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